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Samsung develops “Reinvented Toilet” with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

(Left) Jay Y. Lee, Vice Chairman of Samsung Electronics, and (Right) Bill Gates, Co-Chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, pose for a photo after discussing the results of the Reimagined Toilet Project. / Courtesy of Samsung Electronics

Samsung Electronics today announced that it has completed a project in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in response to the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, resulting in the development of a prototype toilet that is safe and designed for home use.

Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), the research and development arm of Samsung Electronics, began working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on reimagined toilets in 2019, and recently completed development of basic toilet technologies. and successfully developed and tested a prototype.

Today’s event announcing the completion of the Reimagined Toilet Project at SAIT in Suwon, Korea, featured Gyoyoung Jin, President and CEO of SAIT; Doulaye Kone, Deputy Director, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Sun Kim, Senior Program Manager, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and Yong Chae Lee, external advisor to the Foundation, as well as participants in the SAIT project.

Samsung Electronics Vice President Jay Y. Lee met with Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on August 16 to discuss the results of the Reimagined Toilets project and exchange ideas regarding global giving initiatives social. During the meeting, Bill Gates shared the Foundation’s philanthropic vision and ongoing initiatives and Vice President Lee expressed his commitment to using Samsung technologies to help address the challenges facing humanity.

Samsung plans to offer royalty-free licenses on patents related to the project to developing countries during the commercialization phase. Samsung will also continue to provide close consultation to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help bring the technologies to mass production. The two organizations will work together to identify industrial partners willing to commercialize the technology, after making the design more efficient for mass production.

Over three years of research and development, SAIT worked on the basic design and developed the components and modular technology, leading to the successful development of a prototype for home use. The product is energy efficient with effluent treatment capability and meets the performance required by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to commercialize a reinvented toilet for home use.

Core technologies developed by Samsung include thermal treatment and bio-treatment technologies to kill pathogens in human waste and make effluent and released solids environmentally safe. The system makes it possible to fully recycle the treated water. Solid waste is dewatered, dried and burned to ash, while liquid waste is treated through a biological purification process.

Launched in 2011, the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s initiative to develop transformative toilet technologies that can safely and effectively manage human waste.

According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, an estimated 3.6 billion people are forced to use unsanitary sanitation facilities, resulting in half a million children under the age of 5 dying every year diarrheal diseases caused by limited access to clean water and sanitation.

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